Egypt: Too Big to Fail?

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Recently, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, a supposed “moderate” Islamist, met with Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Reportedly, they had a friendly discussion.  Perhaps, in addition to the official topics, they also conversed about their mutual anti-Semitic attitudes.  President Ahmadinejad is already well-known for his hatred of the Jews.  President Morsi’s bigotry, on the other hand, has only publicly come to light this past year.  In 2010, President Morsi delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. Soon after, Morsi described Jews as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”   When confronted by U.S. Senators on his impolitic language, Morsi implied that this was only a controversy because the American media was controlled by Jews.

But the two Islamist Presidents have much more in common than just their anti-Semitism.  Both lead radical, dictatorial, and anti-American regimes.  Like the radical Iranian government has since 1979, President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party continue to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations in their country (Egypt), persecute independent members of the media, and actively pursue death sentences against Westerners or Americans engaging in Free Speech IN the West.

Unfortunately, none of this negative behavior by Egypt’s leadership seems to matter much to the U.S. government.  The administration’s immediate response – sending four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.  A bipartisan Congress voted to support the sale.  This is all part of the $1.5 billion or so U.S. aid, most of it military, which has gone to Egypt annually since 1979.

When questioned about the consistent flow of U.S. aid to Egypt, the same argument is often made by the foreign policy elites – Egypt is the colossus of the Arab world, and it would be irrational and unwise for the U.S. to simply let it become a rogue state, or to collapse, as a failed state.  And so the U.S. money spigot must be kept consistently open, if not cracked a bit wider, regardless of how the Islamist-run Egyptian government acts.  In fact, if you persist in doubting this wisdom, sometimes you are belittled as an ignorant isolationist-like opponent of all foreign aid.

But let’s re-examine that pearl of conventional wisdom regarding U.S. aid to Egypt. It simply isn’t valid, as Egypt under the MB is already a rogue state, and it is also pretty much guaranteed to become a failed state.

The fact that Egypt is a rogue state should be patently obvious at this point.  The Egyptian MB has produced Hamas in Gaza, a well-known terrorist organization.  In fact, the MB and Hamas are so close that thousands of Hamas warriors may have been sent to Egypt to help President Morsi protect his regime by crushing Egyptian democratic protestors.  President Morsi and his MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process, killEgyptian demonstrators, discriminate against the Coptic Christians, allow for the harassment or rape of women, and prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike.  For more information, see hereherehere and here.  Even President Obama – in a moment of clarity – revealed that he is unsure whether Egypt’s MB regime is an ally of ours.

Egypt’s coming economic failure is not so obvious, perhaps because of Western wishful thinking.  But, as David Goldman writes, Egypt currently requires more than $22 billion a year simply to meet its basic needs.  Because of the increasing violence there, the once flourishing tourist industry is kaput, and people with money and knowledge and skills are fleeing.  A black market of U.S. dollars has developed.  Almost half of the population is illiterate.  There are no major sources of oil, natural gas, or other natural resources in the nation.   In other words, Egypt can’t – and/or won’t – continue to exist without outside help.  So, the question is: is the U.S., or the world, ready to supply that $22 billion – every year – to prop up the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi?

Perhaps some believe that the Gulf States and Europe will pay for some of this aid.  Maybe.  So far, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have given Egypt only $9 billion in financial aid and Saudi Arabia may not be willing to deliver this money indefinitely to a MB-dominated government.  And Europe is in really bad economic straits these days.  So that leaves the U.S., and the various international organizations.  But I repeat myself – the U.N. and other international groups may have promised grants/loans, but much of their budget actually comes from the U.S.

There is another point to be made here.  Even if we believe that “Egypt is too big to fail,” why would we ever let the Egyptians know this? As any true believer in realpolitick would know, if Egypt is aware of how vital it is to the U.S., then that nation will do whatever it wants to do, even if what it is doing is in opposition to U.S. interests. This means that it is imperative that the U.S. credibly pretend, even if it would never actually stop its aid to Egypt, that it is open to cutting off the money. Attaching conditions to the aid, and then waiving them, simply does not cut it.

Aside from the question of U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in general, there is also the question of military aid in particular.  About 80% of the U.S. aid to Egypt is military.  There are really only three possible reasons why Egypt would need a strong military: 1) to crack down on its own people; 2) to go to war against Israel, a U.S. ally; and/or 3) to conquer or intimidate other neighboring nations, like Libya, Sudan, Jordan, etc.  None of these actions are in the U.S. national interest.

The most frequently asserted reason to provide the Egyptian military with this aid is that the military is, or will be, a counterweight to the MB.  Now, when the Egyptian army was a more secular-led institution under President Mubarak, bribing Egyptian military leaders to win their support made sense. But considering that Morsi personally named the new army leadership, that the armed forces have shown they don’t want to get involved in politics, and that many officers are pro-Brotherhood or even pro-Salafist, is this really a good reason anymore?  I don’t believe so.  Certainly, Morsi and the MB don’t seem too concerned about the army opposing them.

President Morsi is an Islamist, and his Muslim Brotherhood Party is an Islamist party.  They run a regime that is un-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian.  And they need our economic help, just to survive.  It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end.

Originally Published at Frontpage Magazine at

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